Google My Business listings are a great way of attracting visitors to your website, and to your business. However, since this is an automated system, a lot can go wrong with your online listings, and they can be difficult to manage. One of the most common problems related to online listings is duplicate listings.
The first thing you should do is to check whether the listing is verified. If the listing has a link that says “Own this business?” then it is not verified. In this case, you should claim the listing. The biggest advantage of claiming the listing is that you will have complete control over it. You will be able to request edits because you are the verified owner of that listing.
Google My Business identifies a listing by three critical factors: the name of the business, telephone number and address. It becomes difficult for Google My Business to figure out the correct or updated listing if any of these factors are duplicated. This may cause issues for businesses because Google could see multiple listings as spam.
However, if the listing is verified, you should contact the existing listing holder and request admin rights for the listing. If you have trouble contacting the existing listing owner, you can fill out a form and submit it to Google My Business for guidance on gaining access to the listing.
Different scenarios can cause duplicate listings. Here are some of the most common scenarios, along with some effective solutions:
Two listings for the same business
- If the addresses on both listings match, check if both the listings are verified. If one of the listings is not verified, contact Google My Business and request them to merge both the listings. However, if both the listings are verified, you will need to un-verify one of the listings as Google My Business will not merge two verified listings.
- If both the listings are verified, but you have ownership of one of the listings, you should try to gain admin access from the current listing holder. The listings can only be merged if you have ownership of both of them.
Same business in different locations
- If the duplicate listing is from an old office address where the business resided at some point, you should contact Google My Business to change the listing to “Moved.”
- If the duplicate listing is at an address that the business never used, you will need to change the listing to “Never existed” and submit the entry.
- Some professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, realtors, etc., are allowed individual listings apart from the business where they work.
- Google does not permit two listings for an individual practitioner. In the case of two separate listings at the same address, you should contact Google My Business and have the listings merged.
- Listings for deceased practitioners should be treated similarly to when a practitioner has left the business. Such listings are usually verified, and you can directly contact Google My Business and inform that the practitioner is deceased.
Multiple practitioners at the same location
It is not a good idea for practices to have practitioner listings merged or removed, especially if the practitioners are still working there. In this case, it will be better to have the main business website mention what the business is all about and have different web pages linking to individual practitioners. For instance, the main website should indicate that the business is a medical practice and then have different web pages link to different services offered by different practitioners.
It is important to have your business listed in Google+, but it is equally important to ensure that there is only one listing per location and that the information provided in that listing is accurate. Updated and consistent Google+ listings can add SEO value to your business, and it helps increase customer engagement.